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External Review of Athletics Department Will Not be Made Public

The Murr Center houses several Harvard athletic facilities.
The Murr Center houses several Harvard athletic facilities. By Thomas W. Franck
By Joshua J. Florence and Mia C. Karr, Crimson Staff Writers

The full results of an external review of the culture of Harvard’s Athletics Department will not be made public, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith said in an interview on Friday.

This spring, the Athletics Department began working with a team of consultants from the National Consortium for Academics and Sports to review the culture of the department’s 42 varsity programs. Smith did not provide a timeline for the report’s completion.

Smith said that some of the report’s findings will be made public, but that he does not plan on releasing the entire report.

“It’s certainly involving the students,” Smith said. “So I think having an abundance of caution here to make sure we can do the appropriate investigation, talking to the right people, without having them feel like their comments are going to be released publicly tomorrow, and they can actually tell us exactly what they’re experiencing.”

Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise began the review after two highly publicized incidents in the department. The men’s soccer season was cancelled after the the Office of General Counsel found that the team had repeatedly created a sexually explicit document ranking members of the women’s team. And the Athletics Department placed the men’s cross country team on “athletic probation” after The Crimson reported that the team created annual spreadsheets with “sexually explicit” comments about the women’s cross country team.

The investigation will include a survey of student athletes, coaches, and staff, as well as focus groups and individual interviews.

“Obviously we will say something about the report and the findings that’s appropriate for our community so that we can move forward with this and the recommendations,” Smith said.

The cultural review is one of several different investigations and evaluations taking place in the Athletics Department. The Department is also reviewing how it compensates the coaches of men’s and women’s teams; the head coach of a men’s team at Harvard makes, on average, $34,000 more than the coaches of women’s teams, according to data from the Department of Education.

Harvard is also looking into complaints raised by the women’s rugby team about the Department, and the Human Resources Department is reviewing Patrick Wales-Dinan, a coach in the women’s distance running and cross country program.

“We obviously take very seriously these sorts of claims and want to investigate then,” Smith said.

Smith said he is hesitant to “prejudge” what will be the results of the various investigations.

“I know there are challenges that I’ve heard and I’m interested to see the reports, the depth of them, and what we might do to rectify it,” Smith said.

Smith said this year’s incidents have led to increased communication about athletics between him and University President Drew G. Faust.

—Staff writer Joshua J. Florence can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaFlorence1.


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Department of AthleticsMike Smith